Ahead of the finale tonight, we round up the best beats of the season
After years of fans in the US and UK alike demanding for a British version of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it finally hit our screens this year, with ten queens entering the werkroom for the very first time. If you’ve missed the season, first, watch immediately, and then catch up Shon Faye’s weekly ru-views on Dazed Digital.
For fans hoping there would be nods to British pop culture icons like Eastenders, The Cock Destroyers, Kim Woodburn, Mary Berry, Gemma Collins, they weren’t left disappointed, and British humour was very much front and centre throughout the season.
Tonight marks the finale of S1 (so soon!) and by tomorrow we will have our very first British Drag Superstar with either The Vivienne, Divina De Campo, or Baga Chipz walking away with the crown and... a TV show? The prize is still unclear.
To celebrate, we’re reflecting on some of the season’s best beauty looks from the queens of the season – from their hometown homages to the weird science runway.
BLU HYDRANGEA – WEIRD SCIENCE
One of the most intense makeovers on the season, Blu Hydrangea’s Weird Science look saw her transform herself into a single eyeball – painting her entire face intricately. While the look had everyone saying ‘aye’, Blu sadly didn’t have her eye on the prize and sashayed away without the crown. I (pun intended) am sure this look will go down in the eyes of Ru as a h-eye point of this season’s beauty. OK, we’re done now.
THE VIVIENNE – SNATCH GAME
After just one season, Drag Race UK already boasts one of the most incredible Snatch Game performances in the show’s herstory – courtesy of The Vivienne. After showing a plethora of characters to RuPaul and Alan Carr in the werkroom – including Cilla Black and Kim Woodburn (both incredible too) – the Liverpudlian queen settled on Donald Trump. Speaking exactly like him (even down to his pronunciation of ‘China’), The Vivienne also looked just like Trump too.
CRYSTAL – WEIRD SCIENCE
The only real use of prosthetics this season – yes, Michelle, that is The Vivienne’s real nose – came courtesy of Crystal – who looked like a metal-working miner from an alien planet. With a gag forcing her mouth open into a baring grin, her mane was reminiscent of a wild cavewoman from the world of Mad Max. The cherry on top? The sparks flying off her crotch area while she drilled it on the runway, scaring guest judge Geri Halliwell.
BLU HYDRANGEA – QUEEN ELIZABETH REALNESS
The self-described ‘Queen of the make-up brush’ – AKA Blu – struck gold with this nod to Queen Elizabeth’s portrait on the British pound. Painting her entire top half silver, to match her silver hair and crown, the transformation is instantly recognisable as the Queen.
DIVINA DE CAMPO – WEIRD SCIENCE
One of several iconic looks from Divina De Campo, the Yorkshire queen’s Weird Science look saw her turn herself into a nymph-slash-mermaid-slash-avatar? With sea foliage creeping around her aqua-coloured wig, and her face beat for the gods with different shades of blue.
BAGA CHIPZ – ENTRANCE LOOK
While Baga had no problems making us laugh each and every episode, she wasn’t exactly serving us high glamour, but her own chippy tea realness. And it was always very British. Our fave is her entrance look, where she served Eastenders’ Kat Slater vibes in a sequinned leopard-print skirt and jacket. Looking ready to pull a couple of pints, her short platinum hair was slicked back and paired with a strong brow and a classic red lip/nail combo. Perfect for when you wanna scream: “Get outta my pub!”
DIVINA DE CAMPO – POSH ON A PENNY
Serving you Céline AW13 with her chic laundry bag outfit, Divina’s Posh on a Penny beauty was undoubtedly a celebration of British fashion greats like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. With graphic red lines across her eyes and lips, and frosty white eyelashes, the look was paired with her signature red hair. Let’s be honest, it was over for the other girls before it even started. No wonder she snatched up her first win – and Ru Peter badge – with this look.
CRYSTAL – BOND GIRL GLAMOURAMA
While Crystal’s sparkle faded pretty quickly, the Canadian-turned-honorary-East-London-Queen had a few dazzling moments in the spotlight. Namely, her Bond Girl look, which while leaving us wondering if she’d ever actually seen a Bond film, did leave us hot under the collar – so not all was lost. More Cat Woman than Halle Berry on the beach, Crystal’s Bond Girl was a PVC leather-glad “James Bondage” interpretation of the sex kitten category. The dramatic eyebrow look, artful beauty spot, and midnight-hued glitter eyeshadow had us begging for more. Bonus points for her ponytail that doubled up as a whip, and did someone say, Michelle Visage?
THE VIVIENNE’S MOTHER/DAUGHTER LOOK
Arguably the hardest challenge of Drag Race UK so far, the girls’ family members were invited onto the show to be transformed into queens by their drag relations. For those of you who’ve ever tried to do your mate’s liquid eyeliner before a night out, you’ll appreciate how appalling the idea of doing a full beat on your own mother is, drag royalty or not. While Baga threw his mum under the 55 bus, and Davina strapped on a fake baby bump, The Vivienne stayed cool, as did her mum, fellow scouse heroine, Cassie. The result? A triumph. Dallas meets Witches of Eastwick, the pair stormed the dragwalk. Frouffed blonde wigs, sculpted faces with matching smokey eyes, and long black talons to complete the look. The duchess and her daughter. A special shout out the single crystal that adorned Cassie’s centre parting – camp realness at its absolute best.
GOTHY KENDOLL – QUEEN OF YOUR HOMETOWN
Though she was only with us briefly before Miss Vanjie-ing out of the door, Gothy Kendoll left an impact in the short time she was on Drag Race UK. Bringing us chav (her words, not ours) brows and anal bead hair with her entrance look, it was her hometown ode to Leicester that stood out the most. Described by judge Alan Carr in a far better way than we could – “She looks like an estate agent that’s gone to Regents Park Zoo and said, ‘Can you face-paint my face for 50p?’” – the look, unlike its delivery, was (in Tony the Tiger’s words) grrrrreat.
BONUS: EVERY RED WIG DIVINA DE CAMPO HAS WORN
The shadiest encounter of the season (read about more here) is easily The Vivienne vs Divina De Campo. “I’ll be honest with you, now that I’ve seen you here, you are 20 times the drag queen you are in the outside world. Because for the past ten years, I’ve seen Divina in a red wig and a silver dress,” The Vivienne says, before Divina claps back with: “Tell me anybody else in this werkroom who has a four and a half octave range. Tell me anybody else who can sing in five languages. Tell me anybody else who can do all that while doing the splits. Tell me anybody else who has 15 years of experience of directing production shows.” Since then, there have been memes galore about Divina’s collection of fiery hair. And we love it. You do you DDC.